Albert Einstein hit on one of the most important benefits of living a quiet life. It creates the right kind of environment for stimulating creativity: “The monotony and solitude of a quiet life stimulates the creative mind.”
Einstein would seem to be the best advertisement for his own dictum. One would struggle mightily to find many people who would qualify for being more creative than he was.
But Einstein, brilliant as he was, was not alone in recognizing the beauty and the benefit of the quiet life.
The apostle Paul also knew the value — before God — of the quiet life. In fact, he says, a quiet life is something to make our ambition, our life’s goal. That may come as a bit of a surprise to some who view Christianity as a “loud faith,” and Christians as a group who are bent on “shouting their way” into people’s hearts and minds.
But in today’s world, even apart from our Christian faith, it’s tough to live the quiet life. We live in a 24/7 world. So what are some of the obstacles that get in the way of you living the quiet life? Paul brings them out nicely, even as he encourages us to overcome them for the sake of reaching our goal of a quiet life.
- Selfishness gets in the way of the quiet life. When life becomes all about getting what we need and want, it usually heads in the opposite direction of “quiet.” Paul’s antidote to this obstacle is to put the focus on others (and for believers, especially our brothers and sisters in Christ), and to improve that focus every day. That’s what Jesus did. He focused on you in love.
- Being up in every one else’s business gets in the way of the quiet life. Instead of focusing on picking the tiny splinter out of our neighbor’s eye, we can focus on the “logs in our own eye”. We can recognize the repentance and forgiveness we need. Daily receiving God’s grace and forgiveness by taking time to confess our own sins will help a lot with this. Frequently looking to the cross of Christ is a great way to stop looking judgmentally into the affairs of others.
- Ironically, boredom gets in the way of a quiet life. Keep your hands busy. A quiet life is not a lazy life filled with boredom. Don’t equate these. You can live quietly while living actively. Paul says that working with our hands is one of the most effective ways to achieve the quiet life. You can be motivated to do this by remembering the immense love that Jesus showed you by “working with his hands” — stretching them out to be nailed to the cross.
Einstein had it right. So did Paul. One of the best ways to live creatively for the glory of God is to be ambitious to accomplish a quiet life. Such a life wins the respect of others. And such a life is the result of being fully sufficient in Christ.
“And in fact, you do love all of God’s family throughout Macedonia. Yet we urge you, brothers and sisters, to do so more and more, and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody” (1 Thessalonians 4:10-12, NIV).
Jesus, send me your Spirit, and inspire me by your love and forgiveness to make it my ambition to lead a quiet life. Help me to mind my own business, work with my hands, and most of all, keep on loving others more and more.
Our Bible reading for Sunday, October 11, is Jeremiah 23:9 – 25:14, 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8 and Proverbs 24:23-34.
Header image based on "Quiet" by Paul Mison, CC By-SA 2.0